Chinese president Xi Jinping was given a rousing welcome as he arrived in Pakistan on Monday. Aside from an escort by JF-17 fighter planes of the Pakistan Air Force once he entered the country’s airspace, prime minister Nawaz Sharif, president Mamnoon Hussain and army chief General Raheel Sharif were at the airport to receive Xi.
Xi is on a two-day state visit to Pakistan to sign a number of important agreements and MoUs worth $46 billion the centerpiece of which is a Pakistan-China Economic Corridor between Pakistan’s southern Gwadar port on the Arabian Sea and China’s western Xinjiang region.
The two countries are set to cooperate in gas, coal, and solar energy projects to provide 16,400 megawatts of electricity — roughly equivalent to the country’s entire current capacity.
During the day, Pakistan and China signed 51 agreements in a number of areas including infrastructure development to energy.
The Chinese president was also awarded the country’s highest civilian honour, the “Nishan-e-Pakistan”.
Later at a presser, Sharif said that Pakistan and China had resolved to continue cooperation in fighting terrorism. “I have assured Xi, China’s security is as important to us as Pakistan’s security,” he said, adding “Friendship with China is the cornerstone of Pakistan’s foreign policy.”
On the economic corridor Sharif said it would “benefit all of Pakistan. It will enable China to create a shorter and cheaper route for trade with other countries.”
Xi, meanwhile, thanked Pakistan for providing assistance in evacuation of stranded Chinese nationals in Yemen. Xi is the first Chinese head of state to visit Islamabad since 2006.